Unlike previous years, April and May delivered few new baseball card products. Topps Moments and Milestones and Upper Deck Spectrum released in early April, while Upper Deck Premiere was released on April 25th. The only product released during May was the 2006-07 USA Baseball box set. Rest assured, there looks to be plenty of new baseball releases in June and July, but opening the 2007 season with two slow months upset many dealers and collectors.
Under the current guidelines, Topps and Upper Deck can each produce 20 products per year. However, Major League Baseball recently announced that they plan to cut the number of products down to 17 for each manufacturer for the 2008 season.
In the long-term, the reduction of products could have a positive effect on the hobby. For example, fewer brands means fewer Rookie Cards. In 2001, Ichiro Suzuki had 49 different Rookie Cards produced, the most of any â€˜01 rookie. In 2006, Joey Devine led all rookies with 18 RCs. Secondary market prices are driven by supply and demand. In theory, fewer RCs of a top Rookie will positively affect his card values. Due to overproduction, many collectors have proclaimed, "game-used cards are dead." Fewer brands means fewer memorabilia cards produced. This could lead to a small resurgence in memorabilia prices. With a lot of down time between new products, collectors may revisit "older" sets from the 2000s, 1990s, and even earlier. Several years ago, when no hockey products were being produced due to the NHL lockout, there was a renewed interest in vintage hockey cards.
What do you think? Will a reduction in the number of products produced help or hurt the hobby?